Viral TikTok sensation Alexandra Kay will be heading out on a massive tour with Tim McGraw this summer, and the thought of that has her experiencing a pinch-me moment.
The singer/songwriter from Waterloo, Illinois, got the invite to join the country superstar for his trek after completing her headlining In Real Life Tour with Cooper Alan and Thomas Mac. McGraw surprised Kay via a phone call just two months after coming across a now-viral Coffee Cover TikTok video of her singing his ‘90s hit “Don’t Take The Girl.”
“How awesome is this #coffee cover by @alexandrakaymusic!” McGraw captioned the TikTok duet with Kay at the time. “Cheers to starting off the week right!”
How awesome is this #coffeecover by @Alexandra Kay! Cheers to starting off the week right!
Now that Kay is reaching another milestone with McGraw’s upcoming trek – following shows with Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence – she can’t help but recall and reflect on the moment the country icon first noticed her singing voice in the clip that has since garnered millions of views.
“I was sitting and watching Priscilla Block play at Whiskey Jam, and a couple of other friends who were on the show that night,” Kay tells Music Mayhem, recalling the moment she found out McGraw’s reaction to her TikTok video. “I was in a record label suite. So there were just a lot of executives and stuff up there…. My reaction was obnoxious in front of all of these people. Everybody’s, kind of, looking at me like, ‘What in the world is this girl screaming about?’ And, I’m not signed. So, I was up there. But I’m not with the label that I was with. So, everyone’s like, ‘Jesus.’ So I was up there watching. And, then, all of a sudden, my phone just started getting lit up.”
“I had a million missed calls from friends back home, and I was like, ‘What is going on?’ I was worried that something had happened to someone. Then, I got a text as I’m looking through these calls that say, ‘Check your TikTok,’” she continued. “It was from one of my best friends back home. I opened it up, and I saw that he had a duet edited, and it was already going viral.”
Kay went on to say that the TikTok video had only been posted for 10 minutes when McGraw got a hold of it, and she started to see thousands of views on it.
“I was like, ‘Holy crap, this is insane!’ I just start screaming and jumping up and down and everyone’s staring at me. Then I go downstairs and I just take a moment to just thank God.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this was going to end up leading me to Tim calling me and personally asking me to join him on the tour as a completely independent artist,” she added. “There’s a lot of people that they kind of think that there’s some underlying something that had to happen. Do they have the same management? Do they have the same booking? Like how did this happen? And it was completely organic. And, it’s a dream come true.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time Kay has had a video go viral. Before TikTok was ever “a thing,” she first caught attention in 2016 on Facebook with her version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” As it turns out, McGraw was so impressed by Kay’s vocals, he went as far as comparing her talent to that of the “9 to 5” icon.
“I met Tim [in person] for the first time the other day because we are touring together. He is just as sweet as he can be and down-to-earth. So we sang a song together for this video to promote the tour, and he looked at me soon as I was done singing. He said, ‘Has anyone ever told you that you sound like Dolly Parton?’ I said, ‘Wow. Yes, they have. But wow, that means a lot coming from you.’” Kay shared her appreciation for his acknowledgment. “And he said, ‘The best part about Dolly is that she is just as beautiful of a person inside as she is beautiful outside as she is talented.’ And I have literally heard that from every person that has ever met her. And that is being a role model in country music.”
Kay, no doubt, has been meeting some major country influences since beginning her journey and putting her own music out into the world. But, one person that she is hoping to come face to face with is McGraw’s wife, Faith Hill.
“We’re huge fans of Tim. I’ve watched a couple of episodes of 1883, and I loved Yellowstone. So I got to ask him a couple of things when we met recently. I was picking his brain on what it was like to shoot the show and how cool that [he] got to do this with [his] wife and what a family affair it was. He was telling us about the long days, and how they were literally out in the middle of nowhere, and how Faith did an incredible job.”
“But, we were sitting there, and [Tim] asked us who our major influences were growing up. I looked at him and said, ‘I am not even just saying this…. But your wife is the pinnacle for me.’ I grew up listening to Faith; she shaped me as a vocalist. I grew up in the ’90s. So it was Faith [Hill], Trisha [Yearwood], Martina [McBride], Jo Dee [Messina], and Alison Krauss. Those were the voices that I grew up listening to. And that shaped me as a vocalist. So the minute that I meet Faith Hill – if I thought I was nervous meeting Tim, it’s a wrap when I meet Faith. I might pass out! If you ask me, they are the ultimate duet partners. Nobody you watch is better than Tim and Faith.”
Even though Kay considers Tim and Faith an unmatched duet, she does hope to also one-day collaborate with McGraw.
“I’ve been trying to manifest [this] for a long time. I would love to collaborate with Tim. He has shaped me so much. I know just about every single one of his songs…” Kay said. “But, yeah. I have a song that came out about seven months ago called ‘How Do We Go.’ And the fans really grasped onto the song. [It’s] basically about drifting apart from the person that you love and the possibility of divorce and splitting up a family. And it’s a very powerful song. It wasn’t my best song when it first came out. It only charted at number three on the iTunes chart. And every other song of mine had gone number one. And so I was disappointed. It wasn’t my best song to stream the most streams within the first week. But then, as time went on, it found its audience, and it is now my most streamed song and my most successful song, the most downloaded song. So with all that being said, just because a song doesn’t hit the algorithm when you want it to doesn’t mean it won’t find its audience. And that was kind of my lesson. But that song is a song that has become so relevant in my career and so powerful that we are going to re-release it on my [upcoming] album as a duet. So I’m manifesting that we’ll get Tim on the duet.”
In the meantime, though, Kay is just excited to continue to make her mark on the country scene while preparing for her forthcoming tour with McGraw.
“Seeing as I’ve literally never played for more than 6,000 people, yes I would love to play for 20,000 people a night. Oh my gosh!” She says enthusiastically. “I mean, I’m looking forward to just getting to continue to pick [Tim’s] brain on all things’ entertainment, but he just seems like such a down to earth person.”
McGraw’s amphitheater tour, which visits 17 cities, officially kicks off on April 29 in Rogers, Arkansas, and also features direct support from multi-platinum artist Russell Dickerson and additional support from viral artist Brandon Davis. The trek is currently scheduled to run through June 4, 2022.